Administration cites Obamacare boost for seniors

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The Obama administration said Tuesday more than 25 million people on traditional Medicare received at least one free preventive care service during the first 11 months of this year because of the new health care law.

About 25.4 million beneficiaries obtained a service at no cost, a slight uptick from 24.7 people who received a free service because of the Affordable Care Act through November of 2012.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is touting the popular aspects of the health overhaul — it recently announced that seniors saved $8.9 billion on prescriptions since the law’s enactment — after it struggled to get state-based insurance markets up and running after their Oct. 1.

“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of seniors have been able to receive important preventive services and screenings such as an annual wellness visit, screening mammograms and colonoscopies, and smoking cessation at no cost to them,” CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said.  “Prevention and early detection are so vital to ensure that Americans are healthy and Medicare is healthy.  

President Obama is scheduled to speak to top tech executives on Tuesday at the White House about how to improve HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange system that connects residents of 36 states with private health plans.

Critics of the law say millions of Americans face a coverage gap because of the law once January hits. Some existing plans were cancelled for failing to meet Obamacare’s coverage requirements, and the online portals’ glitches prevented people from exploring alternatives byDec. 23 — the deadline to be covered by New Year’s Day.

The website is working much better than it did in October and November, but critics say the window to sign up is so tight that some may not be able to enroll in time.

 

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